Vancouver mayor says the city is safe despite recent violent crimes

The mayor of Vancouver is reassuring the public the city is safe despite what appears to be a rise in violent crimes.

Kennedy Stewart was asked about his thoughts on public safety after the Vancouver Police Department released a video of another unprovoked attack in the city.

"I do think Vancouver is safe, it's one of the safest cities in the world," Stewart told reporters Wednesday.

The video showed a man lunging at, and grabbing a 22-year-old woman outside of the Hotel Georgia on New Year’s Eve. The woman was able to break free from his grasp and get the man off her.

Last year, the VPD reported that they were seeing four stranger assaults per day on average.

Stewart said he’s sympathetic to those who are victims of crime, but feels the city is doing enough to keep people safe.

"We spend over $1 million per day on policing in this city," Stewart said.

However, even the VPD admits these incidents have led to an erosion in confidence in public safety.

“Unfortunately these types of incidents are happening more and more in the city,” said Const. Tania Visintin of the Vancouver Police Department.

“Nobody should have to change where they walk.”

A recent SFU criminology study found that violent crimes increased slightly in poorer neighbourhoods like Downtown, Strathcona and Mount Pleasant during the first year of the pandemic.

While theft-related crimes went up in wealthier areas like Kitsilano, Kerrisdale, Oakridge and Killarney.

"The big story here is that the largely marginalized populations in Vancouver are suffering more as a result of their place in society," Martin Andresen, professor of criminology at SFU, told CTV News.

“What we argue in this case is that these areas need more social support.”

Andresen said while there has been an increase in crime in recent years, the city is still much safer than previous decades.

“Crimes been dropping in Vancouver since at least the early 2000s," he said.

“So these increases were seeing are from a much lower baseline.”